You’ve heard about it all over the news, watching and listening as it becomes worse every day (and no, I don’t mean the Lance Armstrong scandal or the newest season of American Idol).
I’m actually referring to this year’s flu season. Every day the news is reporting an increase of people who are combating the flu and turning to hospitals to help take away the worst of it. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, muscle aches, headache and respiratory symptoms of cough and nasal congestion. Although some cases of the flu spread by breathing the virus, more cases occur by hand contact with a contaminated object.
Here are a few guidelines that can help you and your loved ones prevent your own influenza outbreak:
- Immunization with either the current flu vaccine by injection or nasal spray. TCC has a very limited supply of the current flu vaccine for injection. Check with your campus nurse for availability or contact your physician pharmacist for availability. It is not too late to get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after touching potentially contaminated surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons, gas pump handles, etc.
- If soap and water are not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
- Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to prevent the spread of germs. Cough into your elbow or sleeve to reduce hand contamination.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school, especially when someone is ill.
- Avoid crowds if possible during an outbreak of the flu.
- If you are ill with an influenza-like illness stay home till you are free of fever for at least 24 hours.
- If you are at high risk for complications from the flu (such as heart or lung disease or an immunocompromised condition) contact your physician at the first sign of the flu.
- Also contact your physician if you develop possible complications such as difficulty breathing or confusion.
The CDC website has more information on the current flu outbreak. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.